Exploring the lost history of Bengal (Single day ride)

In the midst of summer, quite frustrated by our daily routine, we have decided to venture out for a single day trip. There were many destinations to choose from, but we thought to do it differently. The anonymous decision was taken to visit a century old heritage town – Krishnanagar.

In ancient times, Krishnanagar was the state capital of Nodia and it reached the climax of its glory under the ruling of Maharaja Krishanachandra. The town Krishnanagar excelled in art, crafts, culture and education in its own time. Even today, the fragments of the past glory can be seen in Krishnanagar and surrounding areas. The craftsmen of Ghurni, a small place of the town, is still carrying the legacy of the past. The human figure, crafted in Ghurni, is famous worldwide for its precision craftsmanship. The Rajbari is standing still with all its heritage charm and the entrance gates – charminar is a fine example of Mughal architecture. In 1758, Maharaja Krishnachandra decided to shift his state Capital to another place, later known as Shivnibas, to protect himself from the invasion of “Bourgee” and built three temples – Rajrajeswari Shiv Temple(1758), Bugishwar Shiv Temple(1762) and Ram-Sita Temple(1762) . The place is surrounded by the river ‘Churni’, used as a tactical defence mechanism from outside invasion.

But only the history of the place is certainly not going to satisfy the hunger of a traveller. Since ‘sworpuria’ and ‘sworbhaja’ are the famous sweet dishes of Krishnanagar and the best can be tested from oldest and famous sweet shop of Adhar Chandra Das.

The Riders..

Konkal kaka -> AKA Sunny
Milo Kaka -> AKA Arindam
Boro kaka -> AKA Bappaditya
Hunky -> AKA Hunky 😀

The Planning..

There were some confrontation since konkal kaka always wanted to avoid the pain of early rising but boro kaka was pretty much adament on starting as early as 4AM.

I had to mediate & rescheduled the starting time to a more realistic 5.30 AM.

That’s all we had. Few clues, brief knowledge of the history and the determination of finding the place but having said that, boro kaka added few more destination as we spent the sleepless night.

The messy start

Although we all promised to be a good tourer but as I woke up and took a glance of the FaceBook, I found “Milo kaka” spending the night in a solo NH2 ride.

Milo_FaceBook

With some anger and disappointment, at around 4.50 AM, I gave my luck a try and called up konkal kaka.

Phone_call

As konkal kaka prepares to push his R15 to 50 kmph and race towards to boro kaka’s place, me and milo decided to have some good old tea to shake it up and brace our self to face the anger of boro kaka.

The early morning tea

As usual, with 30 mins delay, finally konkal kaka arrives and we straight away direct him to face the mighty boro kaka. But to our utter surprise, he managed to defuse the situation with a simple smile and with that magic keyword, “NH34..”

Milo kaka worried for Konkal kaka Ready to ride..

The Route..

As per our itinerary, the trip is based in and around of Krisnanagar. Which is around 110 kms from Kolkata. The route takes us right through the hostile NH34. The NH34 is always known for its killer beauty. Traffic is very rough and the road is full of surprises in terms of potholes and broken patches.

The_Map_Kolkata_to_Krishanagar

You start by taking a right turn from the Kolkata AirPort towards Barasat, from there you make a left turn and head towards Krishananagar.

The Journey..

As we continued from Barasat towards our first planned break at Ranaghat, we had around 40 kms to cover. The traffic was light, since being early morning but as always with NH34, it was rough and really harsh on bikers.

Boro kaka and konkal kaka was leading the charge Yes, elections are coming.. Road condition seemed better than before

Elections are just few weeks away and that reflects on the road conditions too. The NH34 road surface seemed much better than previous years. Konkal kaka decided to take the lead and frustrate us with a modest 50 kmph max on the oddo..

Soon we learned that, it was not such a bad idea to slow down as often incoming traffic doesn’t even care to notice you and not to mention the road surface betraying you by throwing a large pothole out of nowhere.

Motorcycles are invisible here  The surprises

Breakfast at BP (Ranaghat)

As the clock prepares to sound the 8 bells, we gave our first scheduled stop at a petrol pump, just a couple kms ahead of Ranaghat. Food is quite good here and it was the perfect place to fill our stomach with a heavy breakfast.

Breakfast time..  Sunny is enjoying the chicken sandwich

After we completed our breakfast, we set out for the town of Krisnanagar, which is another 50 kms. NH34 continued to offer us challenges as the traffic started to increase with every passing minute.

Hunky navigating a blind curve  Slow moving trafiic

Ghurni and Putul Patti

By 10 O Clock, we were there at Historical township of Krisnanagar and in the maze of local streets and allies, boro kaka took the lead and started searching for the direction for “Ghurni” and “Putul Patti”..

We have clay dolls, toys and even clay sculptures in different parts of India. But there has been nothing to match the clay doll artisans of Krishnanagar in the Nadia district of West Bengal.

That is what every foreign and national tourists have to say about the place and being here in Bengal, we had to visit and experience the same so after 30 mins of searching (since GPS has no use in this part of the world), we finally reached the place.

An artist is busy with his sculpture Kaka's are busy interacting with the locals

Some of us were busy at clicking pictures and being amazed by their art and work, where as boro kaka and konkal kaka found their passion to learn from a veteran about this lost art. While chatting, they also took information about our next destination.

weatherThe temperature was at boomy 40deg and being right under tropic of cancer line, the unforgiving sun was blazing right on top of our head.

But the excitement was also at its highest since the lost fort we set out to find, seemed to be in the memory of the locals. While interacting with them, we tried to gather as much information as possible to narrow our search and tried to pin point the actual location for the same.

Tip for the riders, always try to find shade for your motorcycle when you park it.

As were were busy with our camera, we made sure, our rides rest in some shade.

Rest in shade...  Always park the bike in shade

Our Lunch..

Since next league of our journey would be taking us to remote village locations hence Milo kaka suggested that we should complete our lunch as he had found some nice parathas.

Pure veggy made boro kaka happy but some of us were bit disappointed.

Kakas are in wait for their launch  launch

Searching for the Lost History..

The fort we were searching, was established by Lord Krishana Chandra Roy, about 250 years ago as a refuge for him self when Bargi forces attacked Bengal and his kingdom.

Although his main palace, which is located in Krishnanagar is receiving preservation aid from the government sources but the refuge, which he built further 30 kms east, has virtual been erased from the history.

Early clues suggested us to explore the surroundings of an old Shiv Temple at Shibnibas.

So we took the SH 8 and unexpectedly found an awesome road to drive on. Smooth and straight with loads of shade on offer from the large roadside trees. It felt bliss in such hot weather.

The SH8.. (Krisnanagar to Shibnibash) Konkal and his R15 in SH8

Things took another unexpected turn when we left the SH8 and turned towards that remote village via the connecting road. All of a sudden we came to a place where the road ended as the bridge which the map says “is there” was not yet completed.

End of road..  The Milo man...

As we tried to figure out what next or whom to ask since scorching heat seemed to have forced the locals off the streets, milo kaka kept us busy with his trademarked, “Hey click me here.. Hey take my pict..”

We took an “U” turn and roamed around the village while enjoying the lazy, late back atmosphere.

Exploring the village  Ahh.. What a drive..

As we were roaming here and there, few locals came to our rescue and directed us towards a place, where, they claim, a bridge is there to cross.

Where is the bridge ?? The toll gate for the mighty bridge

The mighty Bridge  Crossing the Bridge

Sunny with R15  Milo kaka crossing on foot

Just over the bridge, the trail lead us directly to a Shiv temple and from there, locals directed us towards a jungle type place where they have seen the place which we seek.

Towards the jungle..

Boro kaka trying to find a way..  Milo having fun..

As boro kaka and milo guided us, me and konkal kaka slowly took the bikes through the trail. Finally we arrived there, that special place we were searching since the morning. Out of the history page, right there, we could see, what remains of that lost fort.

Out from the History pages, that fort or rather what ever remains of it, which lord Krishnachandra built, 300 years ago, stood infront of us

The lost Fort  Milo going up to explore

Inside the structure..  Success..

As we climbed up to explore, what we found was the structure seemed to be now underground and only the top portion was visible to us like an iceberg. We felt sorry and sad since it wasn’t preserved and possibly no one knows about it. But we were also happy that the mission four of us set out for, was successful.

Countering the heat..

As the excitement of exploration started to calm down, we realized that the hot weather is dehydrating us at a rapid pace. Boro kaka stepped in and took the decision to return back to “Shiv-nibash”, the nearest locality for much needed drinks.

Leaving the jungle..  On our way towards the Shiv-nivash

The locality of Shib-nibash is a small village around the temples built at the same time as the fort. The temples have received well attention from government and being reconstructed.

Around the temple area, we found few local glossary shop offering us much needed mineral water and some glucose.

The Temple of lord Shiva / Shiv of Shibnibas, Nadia, West Bengal  glucose, the secret of our energy

Fun and Masti..

As we charged our self with water and lots of glucose, boro kaka presented us with an idea that we could not resist.. In this hot weather, the cold water of river Churni was irresistible. So we opened up and jumped into it for quick dip to cool off our self.

Multi purpose bikes, makeshift hanger !!  Konkal kaka learning to swime..

Everyone should try this..

109 year old sweet shop..

As we headed back to Krishnanagar, boro kaka decided to pay a visit to a famous century old sweet shop to taste the famous “shor puria” of Krisnanagar..

Lost in the maze of city street  Which way is the right way ??

Yes, though we were lost for a while in maze of narrow ally and city streets, but eventually we found the place and enjoyed preparation called “Shor Puria”

Finally we reach the place..  Packing it for home :)

The return..

As the day light slowly started to fade away and our camera battery started to show that RED Blip, we decided to call it a day and start our return ride back home.. We had around 110 kms to cover and I wanted to avoid the heavy evening rush of bus traffic (Kolkata – Siliguri Route) since FZ-16, that we had, was with stock 35/35 headlight.

Returning via NH34   Traffic in NH34 is always punishing..

Road condition reminded us the danger of night   Day Light is fading and the headlights are coming on

Summary..

Most of the Holidays, we spent riding in same old highway, visiting same old dhaba. This one was different. This outing was an excellent single day ride for us. We had something new to do, challenging roads to drive on, taste our navigation skills and physical strength.

We also get to know some more about our history and if you are in and around the said place, give it a visit, you will enjoy the ride.

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